A Labor of Love…

It has been argued, maybe, even scientifically proven, that there is no greater agony or excruciating pain than that of  a woman going through labor and giving birth.  If this perception hasn’t been substantiated  in any medical journal,  then I felt pity for that one person that would dare to argue that point with any woman.

In the last two years,  though, my opinion in the matter has drastically changed. I unwittingly discovered that there IS a greater agony than hours of labor as a child being born to you.  This pain supersedes ANY and all form of  distress or torture experienced from bringing a child into this world.  What’s even worse is that unlike labor and delivery, this pain doesn’t stop once you hold you beautiful son or daughter in your arms. This isn’t a pain that you completly forget about and bravely jump into another round of it by continuing to have chiildren  No, this pain grasps on to you like a viscous predator wanting  nothing more than to devour his prey. This pain is a jagged dagger to you heart while being hit in the gut by a train, dragged through thorny bushed on fire, kicked in the face with a wrought iron club, while having your lungs twisted into knots so you can no longer breathe, type of pain….maybe worse.  THIS pain doesn’t come from bringing a child into the world, this pain comes from witnessing  your child leave this world.

I remind myself how lucky I am to have been able to  give life not just once but three times!  Sadly, some will never see the “blue” line on a pee  stick or hearing the words from a doctor.  They won’t experience the feeling  as their unborn baby tickles their insides like a fluttering butterfly.  They will never laugh out loud  because as they are laying perfectly  still, they notice their tummy  move around like waves in an ocean.   Even now, as memories of being in a small hospital room, writhing in horrific pain, thinking that surely NO one had EVER experienced as much pain as I was having,  I can honestly say how lucky and blessed I am.

At the time, little did I know that the physical pain or mental exhaustion from giving birth would not even come close to the agony of losing my child.  No one tells you that compared to the misery of  working so hard to bring that child into this world, losing  your beautiful child is a whole new level of torment. One that can’t be put into words or explained by any brilliant scholar. I go from idyllic memories of holding that angel for the first time in my arms, to hugging his cold body for the last time.  From cooing ‘I love you’, ‘welcome to the world’, ‘thank you God’  what took you so long’? to crying in pain, “I LOVE YOU’. ‘COME BACK!’ ‘YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO LEAVE!’ ‘WHY GOD, WHY!!??’

My thoughts go from recalling  him laying in his cradle as I gently rubbed his newborn face with one finger while feeling him hold tight to  another finger with his tiny hand,  to  caressing his  lifeless body in his casket and holding him so tightly that I was cautioned to  be careful.  When he was a baby, I remember not wanting to ever put him down.  I just wanted to hold him forever.  My mom would warn me that  if I continued to do that, he would always cry when I would try to walk away.  Ironically, as they  were ready to drive the hearst away with his body,  I recall crawling into the back of it,  and laying my body over his casket. I didn’t want to get out.  I didn’t want to leave him.  I didn’t want him to see me walk away.

All the joy and immense happiness I had felt some 31 years before as I welcomed Joey in to this world, I felt the complete opposite as I escorted him out of the church.  The bliss and euphoria  had been replaced with a piercing pain of anguish.  I would gladly re-do labor a thousand times over to have him back with me. I  pity the person that would argue that a greater pain than this even exists.

The circle of life.. it moves us all…through despair & hope…Through faith and love


I just purposely finished re-opening a wound.  Sadistic? No.  I don’t enjoy or revel in the cold painful memories of the day my Joey died.  Have I finally gone off the deep end and decided to start self mutilating my own heart ? No, at least not yet. The reasoning behind my cruel madness is that today at 1:00 pm was the deadline to place a remembrance notice for the 2nd year of Joeys passing.

I’ve struggled with this for a few weeks.  I’ve asked myself what is the real motive behind revisiting that dreadful day?  Is it for me…for us?  To that I can truthfully answer no because we never forget. It is like a scar or maybe like one of those  floaters seared in your eye.  You know the ones, right? Eyes opened or eyes closed, you can’t get rid of it.  It’s always there! Could it be that I am doing it for those that I believe may have forgotten him? Maybe…. Maybe I want them to think of him, even if it is for the 5 or 10 seconds it will take them to read it.  Actually, the truth is, as crazy as this will sound, I’m doing it for Joey.  I just don’t want Joey to think I forgot.  I’m sure my words come off  sounding like those of a crazy mom. I’ve actually felt as if I WAS going crazy plenty of times but no, not this time.  I was pretty lucid as I felt each stab in my heart and each gut wrenching punch while trying to composed the right words.  As I scoured my files  for his picture, tried to remain calm as I struggled to stifle my cries.  I tried to be as level-headed as possible as I searched my brain, and the internet, for the right words.  And even as those painful memories came rushing back to me, I held my ground!  I was the strong mom I have fooled everyone into believing I am.   As I held my stance through this battle trying to gather just the right sentiment, I would ask myself “What would Joey think?” I didn’t want anything  to “done” or too sappy.  I wanted something strong and solid as him, yet sweet and kind.  But every time I felt I had it right, I would go back and fix it.  Even as I type this, I am thinking ‘SH*#$ I should have said this!” At this point it really doesn’t matter.  I am certain that I could never get it right because there will never be the ‘right’ words to use for your child’s obituary/remembrance.  How can there be??

 So, on July 16th, in the Fresno Bee obituary section, my son’s 31 years of life will be condensed into a 2 by 6 (or so) inch section.  Nothing fancy, nothing wordy.  Just a picture of him and his dash…the day he came into my world and the day he left it.  I love and miss you, lil’ Joey.

HAKUNA MATATA (shoot! I should have added that!)